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Journalism tutor wins trip on Orient Express

A former local and national press journalist turned college tutor has been recognised for his lengthy contribution to journalism training.

Jon Smith, formerly of The Northern Echo and The Times, has been training the next generation of journalists at Darlington College for over two decades.

He received this year’s Chairman’s Award from Kim Fletcher, chair of the National Council for the Training of Journalists, at the Journalism Skills Conference in Glasgow.

Jon, who is also a senior examiner with the NCTJ and author of ‘Essential Reporting: The NCTJ Guide for Trainee Journalists’, won a trip on the Orient Express as a gift from The Northern Echo’s parent company Newsquest and the NCTJ.

He said: “I want to thank the students themselves, there are some great kids out there and I admire the way they deal with the pressures they have to deal with, which I and others like me never did, on newspapers, with video and audio and the way they manage on their own in little offices with only a senior in the distance.

“I admire the way they cope with it and get their NCEs, I’m proud of them.”

Jon is also responsible for all Newsquest editorial training to National Certificate Examination level and the training partnership between Darlington College and Newsquest, which he developed Jon, received national recognition with a Beacon Award for excellent results in 2002.

Kim said: “Although reluctant to show it in a Northern sort of way, Jon is devoted to his students and trainees, and nothing gets in the way of his exacting standards and commitment to training.

“I know it is a clich√© but it has been known for students to believe Jon walks on water and there are many among his journalistic and education colleagues who would agree.”

  • Jon (left) receives the NCTJ Chairman’s award from Kim Fletcher